On June 25th, 2018, my friends and I traveled from Ocean City, New Jersey, all the way up to Boston, Massachusetts to go see Panic! at the Disco. I had seen Panic twice before in concert; once in 2013 when they opened for Fall Out Boy, and another time in 2014 at the Madison Square Garden theater. I’ve been a fan of Panic since I was about seven years old and heard “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” on Z100, but I really got into the band in 2013 with the release of Too Weird To Live, Too Rare To Die and their subsequent tour with Fall Out Boy. Hell, I even used one of their songs in my sweet 16 photo montage. The band quickly became my favorite of all time, and yes, I’m going to keep referring to them as a band even though Brendon Urie is the only remaining member.
I infamously get very emotional during concerts, usually bursting into tears when the artist plays their most emotional song; “Skyscraper at the Demi Lovato concert, “Edge of Glory” at Lady Gaga, “Moments” at One Direction, “A Trophy Father’s Trophy Son” at Sleeping With Sirens, and just about everything that Ed Sheeran has ever written. Following this pattern, one would have expected me to start crying when Panic sang their song “Dying in LA” off their new album, Pray for the Wicked, and by all indications I should have. Brendon sat at an ivory grand piano that floated throughout the arena, above a crowd of people ranging in age from thirteen to thirty while belting out a mashup of Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me” and the aforementioned “Dying in LA.” The audience’s phones lit up the arena brighter than the night sky, and it was truly a sight to behold. But this wasn’t when I got emotional. You see, I hadn’t actually listened to the entirety of Pray for the Wicked before arriving at the concert (oops) so I had not heard the song yet. I thought it was a beautiful moment, sure, but I didn’t completely connect with it.
No, my emotional moment came after that. When we had first arrived at the seats, my friends and I noticed purple paper hearts that told us to shine our phone flashlights through them during Panic’s bisexual anthem “Girls/Girls/Boys.” Naturally, I assumed everyone’s heart was purple and we would just fill up the arena in bright purple. The song began and Brendon Urie, wearing a pride flag that someone threw onto the stage, began to sing. Slowly but surely, everyone began to shine their lights, and I realized that not everyone had purple. Instead, the arena turned into a bright rainbow. I got overwhelmed and began to cry.
I don’t mean I shed a few tears, I mean full blown, open mouth, unable to continue singing along with the music, sobbing. My friends needed to hold onto me because they weren’t sure if I was alright. “Girls/Girls/Boys” ended and “Nicotine” began, and I was still unable to catch my breath. I’m not entirely sure why I was so caught off guard, but regardless, it made the concert that much more memorable.
We all have that one band that acts as our comfort. When we aren’t feeling our best, or when we just need to have a dance party, there is that one band that we always return to. I haven’t been listening to much Panic! at the Disco lately, but the comfort, love, and support I felt at that concert is the same that I feel whenever I put A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out on my record player, thirteen years after the album came out. Only someone as pure of heart as Brendon Urie could create an energy so grand, and I am forever grateful to him for it.